RAW files – although many people believe the RAW file format is digital photography’s equivalent of a negative in film photography, that’s not quite true – more it is the digital equivalent of exposed but NOT processed film as it contains untouched, “raw” pixel information straight from the digital camera’s sensor which requires ‘development’ before any image will appear.
Developing is essentially a 2 step process, first the RAW file goes through a converter (such as Adobe’s ACR and other RAW processors), after which it can be ‘touched up’ by applications such as Photoshop.
And that’s where the challenge is for those who don’t subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). About 7 years ago Adobe announced those who owned Adobe Photoshop CS6 would get their last update to Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) with the release of ACR 9.1.1and that you’d have to be a member of CC, to continue to receive updates.
So if you use CS6, and many people are still using it, what can you do?
- Well you can use the Adobe DNG Converter which enables you to easily convert camera-specific raw files from supported cameras to the more universal DNG raw file, but first of all check your camera is supported by visiting the Camera Raw page for a complete list of supported cameras.
- Assuming it is supported, download the latest DNG Converter and follow the installation instructions.
- Then use the DNG converter to convert all your RAW (PEF, RW2, CR2 etc) files to .dng files which can then be used by Photoshop.
At the same time as discontinuing RAW updates to CS6, Adobe also made ACR accessible from within a Photoshop layer, which of course wasn’t made available to CS6 users. Fortunately Dr Russel Brown created a script that made accessing ACR 9.1.1 possible from within Photoshop; In fact it will launch irrespective of the format (dng, jpg, tif etc) of the file you are working on.
Having the Camera Raw filter available can be very convenient when working in Photoshop as it extends the range of image adjustments you can apply when working in Photoshop.